It was a brutal year for celebrity deaths. Those lost in 2022 included legendary comedians, beloved actors, iconic musicians, and a few up-and-coming performers gone far too soon. Let's take a look back and remember the stars we mourned this year:
Peter Bogdanovich, the Oscar-nominated director of films like The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon, died on Jan. 6 at 82 from natural causes. On top of his filmmaking career, he was also known for some acting roles, including when he played a psychotherapist on The Sopranos. "He was a dear friend and a champion of cinema," said The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro. "He birthed masterpieces as a director and was a most genial human."
Sidney Poitier, who made history as the first Black man to win the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Lilies of the Field, died on Jan. 6 at 94. His death certificate listed the cause as a combination of heart failure, Alzheimer's dementia, and prostate cancer, according to TMZ. Denzel Washington, the second Black man to win the Oscar for Best Actor after Poitier, remembered him in a statement to ET as a "gentle man" who "opened doors for all of us that had been closed for years."
Full House star Bob Saget was found dead in his hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando on Jan. 9 at 65. The comedian's family said the cause was head trauma and that he "accidentally hit the back of his head on something, thought nothing of it, and went to sleep." Saget's co-star John Stamos later published the tear-jerking eulogy he delivered at his memorial. "Bob, I will never, ever have another friend like you," Stamos said. "You will always be my best friend. You are my new guardian angel — a guardian angel with the dirtiest mouth and a heart as big and benevolent as forever."
André Leon Talley
Fashion journalist and former Vogue editor-at-large André Leon Talley died on Jan. 18 at 73 after reportedly suffering a heart attack. "He was magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny — mercurial, too," Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour said. "Like many decades-long relationships, there were complicated moments, but all I want to remember today, all I care about, is the brilliant and compassionate man who was a generous and loving friend to me and to my family for many, many years, and who we will all miss so much."
Award-winning French actor Gaspard Ulliel, 37, died in a skiing accident on Jan. 19 after reportedly colliding with another skier in the Alps. He later appeared posthumously in an episode of Moon Knight. "I was so impressed by his dedication and his intelligence," Martin Scorsese, who worked with Ulliel on a commercial, said. "He loved the cinema, and I know that he would have been an interesting filmmaker if he'd lived to realize his dream."
Rock star Meat Loaf died on Jan. 20. at 74 "with his wife, Deborah, by his side," a statement on his official Facebook page said, adding, "From his heart to your souls ... don't ever stop rocking!" A cause of death was not provided, but TMZ reported he "became seriously ill with COVID" before his death. "Always full of madness, with the innocent sense of naughtiness of a 5-year-old, Meat was forever young," Queen guitarist Brian May said.
Comedian Louie Anderson, who won an Emmy for his performance opposite Zach Galifianakis in the FX series Baskets, died on Jan. 21 at 68 after a battle with cancer. "His essence triggered child-like euphoria when he was around," Galifianakis told ET. "He was caring and tender. And you learn that his tenderness was born out of pain. Makes you love him even more. I will miss him tremendously."
Howard Hesseman, who earned two Emmy nominations for his role as DJ Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati, died on Jan. 29 at 81, reportedly due to complications from colon surgery. "Howard was a groundbreaking talent and lifelong friend whose kindness and generosity was equaled by his influence and admiration to generations of actors and improvisational comedy throughout the world," his representative told Variety. In an essay for Variety, Hesseman's co-star Tim Reid remembered him as a "unique person and a gentle soul."
Cheslie Kryst, who won the Miss USA competition in 2019 and served as an Extra correspondent, died on Jan. 30 at age 30. The New York Police Department confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter the cause was suicide. "Her great light was one that inspired others around the world with her beauty and strength," her family said in a statement. "She cared, she loved, she laughed, and she shined."
Italian actress Monica Vitti, who starred in classic films like L'Avventura and was best known for her collaborations with director Michelangelo Antonioni, died on Feb. 2 at 90. Italy's culture minister Dario Franceschini paid tribute to her as the "queen of Italian cinema."
Influential funk singer Betty Davis, who was also the ex-wife of Miles Davis, died on Feb. 9 at 77. Her friend and producer Danielle Maggio told NPR she died from cancer after being diagnosed only a week earlier. "The reach of her influence & sonic lineage is immense," writer Hanif Abdurraqib reflected. "You've heard her, even if you think you've never heard her."
Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman died in his sleep on Feb. 12 at 75. His children Jason Reitman, Catherine Reitman, and Caroline Reitman mourned the "unexpected loss of a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life." Reitman also directed comedies like Stripes and Meatballs. "I've lost my hero," his son Jason Reitman, who directed 2021's Ghostbusters: Afterlife, said. "All I want is the chance to tell my father one more story. He came from a family of survivors and turned his legacy into laughter."
Mark Lanegan, frontman of the rock band Screaming Trees, died on Feb. 22 at 57. A cause of death was not reported. A year earlier, he described being put into a medically induced coma during a serious bout with COVID-19, noting his "kidneys reportedly were blown out." Joy Division and New Order co-founder Peter Hook remembered him as a "lovely man," who "led a wild life that some of us could only dream of" and "leaves us with fantastic words and music."
Emilio Delgado, who played Fix-it Shop owner Luis Rodriguez on Sesame Street for more than four decades, died on March 10 at 81 from multiple myeloma. Sesame Workshop remembered him as a "beloved member of the Sesame family for over 50 years," whose "warmth and humor invited children to share a friendship that has echoed through generations."
Oscar-winning Kiss of the Spider Woman and Children of a Lesser God star William Hurt died on March 13 from prostate cancer at 71. "A brilliant actor, who put everything into his work," Ben Stiller said, urging fans to "watch his movies if you can and see a different kind of movie star, for whom the work was more important than status." Actor Matthew Modine also remembered him as a "consummate professional," who was "continually searching for greater truth and human understanding." Marvel announced later in the year his role of General Thaddeus Ross will be taken over by Harrison Ford.
Wrestler Scott Hall, also known as Razor Ramon, died on March 14 at 63 due to complications from surgery. "I love Scott with all my heart but now I have to prepare my life without him in the present," wrestler Kevin Nash said, while WWE's Shane McMahon said he was "deeply saddened by the loss of Scott Hall, a singular talent and in my view, perhaps the greatest to ever [perform] in the squared circle."
Madeleine Albright, who became the United States' first female secretary of state under former President Bill Clinton, died on March 23 at 84 from cancer. "She was surrounded by family and friends," her family said. "We have lost a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend." Clinton remembered her as "one of the finest secretaries of state, an outstanding UN ambassador, a brilliant professor, and an extraordinary human being."
Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died on March 25 at 50. A cause of death wasn't provided, but Colombian authorities reportedly found he had 10 drugs in his system. The band later performed multiple tribute concerts for him. "For those of you who knew him personally, you know that no one else could make you smile or laugh or dance or sing like he could," Dave Grohl said at one concert, per Loudwire. "And for those of you that admired him from afar, I'm sure you've all felt the same thing."
Estelle Harris, best known for playing George Costanza's mother Estelle on Seinfeld and voicing Mrs. Potato Head in the Toy Story films, died on April 2 at 93. Her son, Glen Harris, remembered her "kindness, passion, sensitivity, humor, empathy, and love," while George Costanza actor Jason Alexander mourned his "TV mama" and "one of my favorite people," adding, "The joy of playing with her and relishing her glorious laughter was a treat. I adore you, Estelle. Love to your family. Serenity now and always."
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who lent his iconic voice to the parrot Iago in Aladdin, died on April 12 at 67, just a few months after his friend Bob Saget. Gottfried's publicist said the cause was complications from muscular dystrophy. "In addition to being the most iconic voice in comedy, Gilbert was a wonderful husband, brother, friend, and father to his two young children," Gottfried's family said. Conan O'Brien remembered him as a "sweet and delightfully funny man," while former Daily Show host Jon Stewart recalled that Gottfried "could leave you gasping for breath … just indescribably unusually hilarious."
Less than two weeks after the loss of Seinfeld star Estelle Harris, Liz Sheridan, who played Jerry Seinfeld's mother on the sitcom, died on April 15 at 93. "Liz was always the sweetest, nicest TV mom a son could wish for," Seinfeld said. "Every time she came on our show it was the coziest feeling for me. So lucky to have known her."
Robert Morse, who played Bert Cooper on Mad Men, died on April 20 at 90. He won a Tony for his performance in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying on Broadway. "He was always proud to be on set, always kind, and always fantastic," Mad Men star Christina Hendricks said, adding, "To work with someone like Robert is an artist's dream. I already miss you, Robert."
Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, died on April 23 at 88 due to complications from a stroke. He served in the Senate for over 40 years, from 1977 until his retirement in 2019. "Orrin Hatch once shared in an interview that he had a soft side, and he had a tough side," President Biden said. "To serve with Orrin, as I did for over three decades, was to see — and appreciate — both.
Grammy-winning country singer Naomi Judd, who performed with her daughter Wynonna in the duo The Judds, died on April 30 at 76 from suicide. "Today we sisters experienced a tragedy," her daughter Ashley Judd tweeted. "We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered." She died just one day before being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Country Music Hall of Fame's website noted that Judd helped "take country back to its roots in the 1980s with lean, tuneful songs influenced by traditional folk music, acoustic blues, and family harmony acts."
Mike Hagerty, the actor perhaps best known for his role as superintendent Mr. Treeger on Friends, died on May 5 at 67. According to TMZ, he "had a terrible reaction" to an antibiotic, which caused him to have a seizure and go into a coma. "I loved Mike the instant I met him," Bridget Everett, Hagerty's co-star on Somebody Somewhere, said. "He was so special. Warm, funny, never met a stranger. We are devastated he has passed. Mike was adored by the entire cast and crew of Somebody Somewhere."
Goodfellas and Field of Dreams actor Ray Liotta died on May 26 in his sleep at age 67 while in the process of shooting the movie Dangerous Waters in the Dominican Republic. A cause of death wasn't provided. "I'm absolutely shocked and devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of Ray Liotta," Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese told Vanity Fair. "He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor. … My heart goes out to his loved ones, and it aches for his loss, way too early." Liotta will appear posthumously in the 2023 film Cocaine Bear.
Philip Baker Hall
Philip Baker Hall, the prolific actor who appeared in movies like Magnolia and Hard Eight, died on June 12 at age 90. He also had a memorable role as "library investigations officer" Joe Bookman on Seinfeld. "Hall had a long and impressive career as one of Hollywood's top character actors," the official Seinfeld Twitter account noted. "His talent will be cherished."
Mary Mara, an actress known for her roles on shows like ER, Nash Bridges, and Law & Order, died on June 26 at 61 after drowning in New York's St. Lawrence River. "She was electric, funny, and a true individual," her manager told People. "Everyone loved her. She will be missed."
The Godfather and Misery star James Caan died on July 6 at 82, reportedly due to a heart attack and coronary artery disease. "The family appreciates the outpouring of love and heartfelt condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time," a statement shared to his Twitter account said. Al Pacino, Caan's co-star in The Godfather, remembered him as a "great actor, a brilliant director, and my dear friend," while Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola said, "He will always be my old friend from Sunnyside, my collaborator and one of the funniest people I've ever known."
Tony Sirico, best known for his role as Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri on The Sopranos, died on July 8 at age 79. A cause of death wasn't announced, though he had been suffering from dementia, according to the Los Angeles Times. Sirico's Sopranos co-star, Michael Imperioli, remembered him as "truly irreplaceable" and "as tough, as loyal, and as big-hearted as anyone I've ever known," adding, "I am proud to say I did a lot of my best and most fun work with my dear pal Tony. I will miss him forever."
English character actor David Warner, known for his roles as villains in a variety of films including Tron, died on July 24 at age 80 due to a cancer-related illness. "He will be missed hugely by us, his family and friends, and remembered as a kind-hearted, generous and compassionate man, partner and father, whose legacy of extraordinary work has touched the lives of so many over the years," his family said. Actress Barbara Crampton also remembered him as "so purely an actor's actor, so real, so focused and a delightful person."
Ivana Trump, the first wife of former President Donald Trump, died on July 14 at age 73 after falling down the stairs at her home in New York. "She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life," Donald Trump said.
Paul Sorvino, who played Paulie Cicero in Goodfellas, died on July 25 at 83. "Our hearts are broken," his wife, Dee Dee Sorvino, said. "There will never be another Paul Sorvino, he was the love of my life, and one of the greatest performers to ever grace the screen and stage." His daughter, Mira Sorvino, also called him the "most wonderful father," adding, "I love him so much. I'm sending you love in the stars Dad as you ascend."
Tony Dow, who played Wally Cleaver on the classic sitcom Leave it to Beaver, died on July 27 at age 77 while receiving hospice care at home. "He was the best dad anyone could ask for," his son, Christopher, said. "He was my coach, my mentor, my voice of reason, my best friend, my best man in my wedding, and my hero." Jerry Mathers, who played Beaver on the show, also remembered him as "the kindest, most generous, gentle, loving, sincere, and humble man."
Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, who became the first Black head coach in professional basketball, died on July 31 at 88. His family said it was their "hope each of us can find a new way to act or speak up with Bill's uncompromising, dignified, and always constructive commitment to principle." Celtics player Jaylen Brown also remembered him as a "great man," noting that "during the peak of racial tension in our society, he represented a type of nobility and honor that transcended sports."
Nichelle Nichols, the trailblazing actress who played Uhura on Star Trek, died on July 30 at 89. Co-star William Shatner remembered her as a "beautiful woman" who "played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world," and George Takei paid tribute to the "trailblazing, incomparable" actress. In August, United Launch Alliance announced a portion of her ashes would be sent to space in conjunction with the private company Celestis.
Pat Carroll, who voiced Ursula in The Little Mermaid and won an Emmy for her work on Caesar's Hour, died on July 30 at 95 due to pneumonia. Her daughter, Tara Karsian, urged fans to "honor her by having a raucous laugh at absolutely anything today (and every day forward) because besides her brilliant talent and love, she leaves my sister Kerry and I with the greatest gift of all, imbuing us with humor and the ability to laugh … even in the saddest of times."
Grease star Olivia Newton-John died on Aug. 8 at 73 after repeatedly battling breast cancer. "My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better," her former Grease co-star John Travolta wrote on social media. "Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!"
Another World actress Anne Heche was declared brain dead on Aug. 12 after she was seriously injured when she crashed her car into a garage and a nearby home in Los Angeles and was left with "severe anoxic brain injury." She was 53. "This is a sad day," Ellen DeGeneres, Heche's ex-girlfriend, said. "I'm sending Anne's children, family, and friends all of my love."
Wolfgang Petersen, the Oscar-nominated director of films like Das Boot and The NeverEnding Story, died on Aug. 12 at 81. Diane Lane, who worked with Peterson on The Perfect Storm, told Deadline, "Wolfgang was a big, loving soul. A natural leader via positive encouragement; dare I say, he was a spiritual channel for us, grounding truly big stories to move us all through heights and depths."
Country singer Luke Bell was found dead in Arizona on Aug. 26 at 32, close to where he had recently gone missing. He suffered from bipolar disorder, and his friend told Saving Country Music he ran off when he went to get food. "He was extremely gifted & special," country singer Kelsey Waldon tweeted. "Go listen to Luke today. Rest In Peace now, old friend."
Charlbi Dean, an up-and-coming actress who starred in the 2022 Palme d'Or-winning film Triangle of Sadness, died suddenly on Aug. 29 at 32. Her brother, Alex Jacobs, told Rolling Stone she went to the emergency room due to "minor" symptoms, including a headache, and died within hours. "What we have heard is that there was a viral infection in her lungs," he said, noting she had her spleen removed after a 2009 car accident, and her "spleen not being there just added on to the reason why she perhaps couldn't fight" the infection. The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner later confirmed that Dean died of bacterial sepsis. Triangle of Sadness director Ruben Ostlund called her death a "shock and a tragedy," adding, "Charlbi had a care and sensitivity that lifted her colleagues and the entire film crew. The thought that she will not be by our side in the future makes me very sad."
Jean-Luc Godard, the influential French New Wave director, died on Sept. 13 at 91. Director Edgar Wright remembered him as "one of the most influential, iconoclastic filmmakers of them all," noting that "perhaps no other director inspired as many people to just pick up a camera and start shooting."
Ken Starr, who famously served as the independent counsel leading the Whitewater probe during the Bill Clinton administration, died on Sept. 13 at 76 due to complications from surgery. His wife, Alice, remembered him as a "brilliant, kind, and loving man" who "felt compelled to always respond to the call to serve his country, even when it meant enduring harsh criticism for his service." Former President Donald Trump also mourned him as "a true American patriot who loved our country and the law."
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-serving monarch, died on Sept. 8 at 96 after celebrating 70 years on the throne earlier in 2022. Her death certificate listed the official cause as "old age." Her son subsequently ascended to the throne as King Charles. "Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States," President Biden said. "She helped make our relationship special."
Louise Fletcher, who won an Oscar for her performance as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, died on Sept. 23 at 88. "It was an honor and a pleasure to write for Louise Fletcher, one of the absolute greats," screenwriter Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who worked with her on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, said. "A blazing talent and a complete class act." CODA star Marlee Matlin also remembered that the "brilliant" and "lovely" actress, whose parents were deaf, "was the FIRST to sign her acceptance speech at the Oscars."
Grammy-winning "Gangsta's Paradise" rapper Coolio died on Sept. 28 at 59 from suspected cardiac arrest. Kel Mitchell, who worked with him when the rapper performed the theme for Kenan & Kel, was among those to pay tribute. "Last thing you told me when we last spoke a few months ago you told me you loved how I keep things positive and to keep doing that," Mitchell said. "I will, Coolio, and thank you for sharing your light and your talent with us all and thank you for inspiring so many in your lyrics."
Former WWE wrestler Sara Lee, who won the competition show Tough Enough in 2015, died suddenly on Oct. 5 at age 30. Days earlier, she shared on Instagram that she was "celebrating finally being healthy enough to go to the gym 2 days in a row" after her "first ever sinus infection kicked my butt." A cause of death was not disclosed. She was survived by her husband, wrestler Cory Weston, with whom she shared three children. "I would always say that you were an angel walking on this Earth," he said. "Beautiful, compassionate, strong, and so loving."
Country music legend and "Coal Miner's Daughter" singer Loretta Lynn died on Oct. 4 at age 90. "Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, Oct. 4, in her sleep at home in her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills," her family said. "I always did and I always will love Loretta," country singer Reba McEntire also reflected. "She was always so nice to me. I sure appreciate her paving the rough and rocky road for all us girl singers."
Sacheen Littlefeather, the activist who famously turned down Marlon Brando's Oscar on his behalf to protest the treatment of Native Americans in 1973, died on Oct. 2 at 75 after battling breast cancer. Less than two months earlier, the Academy apologized to Littlefeather, saying the "abuse" she endured because of the protest at the Oscars "was unwarranted and unjustified."
Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, died on Oct. 14 at 72, reportedly due to multiple organ failure. His Harry Potter co-stars paid tribute, with Daniel Radcliffe remembering him as "one of the funniest people I've met" and adding that he feels "incredibly lucky that I got to meet and work with him and very sad that he's passed." Emma Watson also reflected, "Robbie was like the most fun uncle I've ever had, but most of all, he was deeply caring and compassionate towards me as a child and an adult. … Robbie, if I ever get to be so kind as you were to me on a film set I promise I'll do it in your name and memory."
Angela Lansbury, the famed actress known for her roles in Murder, She Wrote and Beauty and the Beast, died on Oct. 11 at 96. She made her final film appearance via a cameo in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. "It is rare that one person can touch multiple generations, creating a breadth of work that defines decade after decade," Beauty and the Beast star Josh Gad tweeted. "#AngelaLansbury was that artist."
Comedian and actor Leslie Jordan died following a car crash on Oct. 24 at age 67. "It was suspected he suffered some sort of medical emergency" before crashing his car into the side of a building, Variety reported. Mayim Bialik, who worked with Jordan on her sitcom Call Me Kat, honored him as "larger than life," adding, "It is inconceivable to imagine a world without our Leslie."
Ashton Carter, who served as secretary of defense under former President Barack Obama, died unexpectedly on Oct. 24 at 68 after a "sudden cardiac event," his family said. "He was a beloved husband, father, mentor, and friend," the family added. "His sudden loss will be felt by all who knew him." Obama remembered Carter as "a leader who left America — and the world — safer through his lifetime of service."
Food writer Julie Powell, whose writing inspired the 2009 movie Julie & Julia, died on Oct. 26 at 49 from cardiac arrest. "She was a brilliant writer and a daring, original person and she will not be forgotten," her editor, Judy Clain, said. "We are sending our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Julie, whether personally or through the deep connections she forged with readers of her memoirs."
Jerry Lee Lewis
Rock 'n' roll legend and "Great Balls of Fire" singer Jerry Lee Lewis died on Oct. 28 at 87. His wife, Judith Brown Lewis, said he told her he was not afraid of death in his final days, according to People. "He is ready to leave," Brown Lewis said. "He said he was ready to be with Jesus."
Rapper Takeoff, who performed as one-third of the group Migos alongside his uncle and cousin, was shot and killed in Houston on Nov. 1. He was 28. Police later arrested two suspects in connection with the shooting. "I know someone with a soul like yours is in heaven now," Offset, Takeoff's cousin, said. "I hope you can see how much we love you and miss you. You have left a hole in my heart that will never be filled."
"I Want Candy" singer Aaron Carter, brother of Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter, died on Nov. 5 at 34 after being found unresponsive in his bathtub. "I love Aaron with all my heart and it's going to be a journey to raise a son without a father," his fiancée, Melanie Martin, told TMZ. His brother Nick also said on Instagram, "Sometimes we want to blame someone or something for a loss, but the truth is that addiction and mental illness is the real villain here. I will miss my brother more than anyone will ever know."
Kevin Conroy, who lent his iconic voice to Batman in a number of projects including Batman: The Animated Series, died on Nov. 10 at 66 from colorectal cancer. "For three decades, Conroy served as a beacon for justice and inspiration to many," George Takei said, while Lynda Carter tweeted, "Whether in voice or in person, putting on the suit is a great responsibility. Kevin Conroy inspired and delighted Batman fans."
John Aniston, longtime star of Days of Our Lives and father of Jennifer Aniston, died on Nov. 11 at 89. "You were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew," Jennifer Aniston said. "I am so grateful that you went soaring into the heavens in peace — and without pain."
Jason David Frank
Jason David Frank, who played the green Power Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, died on Nov. 19 at 49. His wife, Tammie Frank, confirmed the cause was suicide. "His death comes as much a shock to me as anyone else," she told People. "The truth is, I had no idea that Jason was thinking of ending things. Yes, he had struggled with mental health issues and depression before, but I could never predict what would happen that night." Frank's Power Rangers co-star Amy Jo Johnson remembered him as "beautiful and truly unique" and a "frenetic, hilarious, caring, driven and creative ball of energy."
Singer Irene Cara, star of Fame and winner of an Oscar for Best Original Song for Flashdance, died on Nov. 25 at 63. Her publicist said she died at her Florida home but that the cause was unknown. "You inspired me more than you could ever know," Lenny Kravitz said in a tribute. "Your songwriting and vocals created pure energy that will never cease. You also defined an era that is so close to my heart."
Brad William Henke
Brad William Henke, a former NFL player who portrayed Officer Desi Piscatella on Netflix's Orange is the New Black, died on Nov. 29 at 56. His manager said he died in his sleep. In 2021, Henke shared on Instagram that he survived a "90 percent blockage of my artery" and received two stents in his heart. "Brad was an incredibly kind man of joyous energy," his manager told TMZ. "A very talented actor, he loved being a part of this community … and we loved him back."
Clarence Gilyard Jr.
Clarence Gilyard Jr., who played James Trivette on Walker, Texas Ranger and Theo in Die Hard, died on Nov 28. at 68. A cause wasn't provided, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal said he "had been suffering from a long illness." Chuck Norris paid tribute to his former co-star on Instagram, writing, "For nearly a decade we had many great times working together and we both loved bringing the bad guys to justice. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and children. You will be deeply missed by all who knew you. May you Rest In Peace, my friend. Until we meet again."
Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Christine McVie died on Nov. 30 at 79 "following a short illness," her family said in a statement. The band described McVie as "one-of-a-kind, special, and talented beyond measure," adding, "We were so lucky to have a life with her. Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply, and are thankful for the amazing memories we have."
Bob McGrath, known for playing Bob on Sesame Street, died on Dec. 4 from complications after a stroke. He was 90. Sesame Workshop remembered him as a "beloved member of the Sesame Street family" and a "revered performer," adding, "We will be forever grateful for his many years of passionate creative contributions to Sesame Street and honored that he shared so much of his life with us."
Kirstie Alley, who played Rebecca Howe on Cheers and also starred in shows like Veronica's Closet and films like Look Who's Talking and Drop Dead Gorgeous, died on Dec. 5 at 71. Her children said her death came after a battle with colon cancer, which was "only recently discovered." Alley's former Cheers co-star Ted Danson paid tribute in a statement to Deadline. "I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh," he said. "I send my love to her children. As they well know, their mother had a heart of gold. I will miss her." Kelsey Grammer and Rhea Perlman also honored their former Cheers co-star, with Grammer telling Deadline "I loved her" and Perlman remembering her as a "unique and wonderful person and friend."
Helen Slayton-Hughes, an actress with dozens of credits but who was perhaps best known for her role as Ethel Beavers on Parks and Recreation, died on Dec. 7 at 92. "Rest in Peace Helen," Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza said. "You were so loved and admired and I wanna be you when I grow up."
Stephen 'tWitch' Boss
Stephen 'tWitch' Boss, the DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and former So You Think You Can Dance contestant, died on Dec. 13 at age 40. His death was ruled a suicide. "I'm heartbroken," DeGeneres tweeted. "tWitch was pure love and light. He was my family, and I loved him with all my heart." His wife, Allison Holker, also said in a statement to TMZ, "He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans. To say he left a legacy would be an understatement, and his positive impact will continue to be felt. I am certain there won't be a day that goes by that we won't honor his memory."
Drew Griffin, an award-winning investigative journalist for CNN, died on Dec. 17 at 60 after a battle with cancer. "Drew's death is a devastating loss to CNN and our entire profession," CNN CEO Chris Licht said. "A highly acclaimed investigative journalist, Drew's work had incredible impact and embodied the mission of this organization in every way."
Sonya Eddy, an actress best known for her role as Epiphany Johnson on General Hospital, died on Dec. 19 at 55. The cause was a "serious infection" she developed after a surgery, according to TMZ. ""The world lost another creative angel," actress Octavia Spencer said.
Ruggero Deodato, director of the infamous Italian horror film Cannibal Holocaust, died on Dec. 29 at 83. "The father of found footage, prolific filmmaker, a dear and kind man has left us," actress Barbara Crampton tweeted, adding that he "still seemed so young, even at 83."
Vivienne Westwood, an iconic fashion designer who The New York Times noted "defined the look of punk," died on Dec. 29 at 81. "Dame Vivienne Westwood was an extraordinary talent: an innovative and influential designer, and an iconoclast who pursued every belief and passion with a rare fervor," Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour said.
Pelé, the iconic Brazilian soccer legend, died on Dec. 29 at 82 after a battle with colon cancer. "Everything we are is thanks to you," his daughter, Kely Nascimento, shared on Instagram. "We love you infinitely. Rest in peace." Former President Barack Obama remembered Pelé as "one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game" and "one of the most recognizable athletes in the world," who "understood the power of sports to bring people together."
Barbara Walters, the trailblazing journalist and former host of shows like Today and The View, died on Dec. 30 at 93, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed. "Barbara was a true legend, a pioneer not just for women in journalism but for journalism itself," Iger said.
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the former head of the Catholic Church who became the first pope in 600 years to step down in 2013, died on Dec. 31 at 95. Days earlier, Pope Francis asked for prayers for his "very sick" predecessor. Benedict "served the church as a priest, theologian, archbishop, cardinal, prefect, pope and pope emeritus, but most of all as a believer," James Martin, Jesuit priest and America magazine editor-at-large, said.